Al Besselink

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Al Besselink
Personal information
Full nameAlbert Cornelius Besselink
Born (1923-06-30) June 30, 1923 (age 96)
Merchantville, New Jersey
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight220 lb (100 kg; 16 st)
NationalityFlag of the United States.svg  United States
SpouseJo Ann Stillwagon
College University of Miami
Turned professional1949
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins18
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour5 [1]
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament T3: 1952
PGA Championship T33: 1956, 1957, 1964
U.S. Open T6: 1951
The Open Championship DNP

Albert Cornelius Besselink (born June 30, 1923) [2] is a retired American professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour in the 1950s and 1960s.


Besselink grew up in Merchantville, New Jersey. [3] He attended the University of Miami and was the first UM golfer to win a national tournament. He won the Southern Intercollegiate Championship twice before graduating in 1949. [4] He turned pro later that year.

Besselink won five PGA Tour events including the inaugural Tournament of Champions in 1953. The field was made up of 20 professionals, all tournament winners in the prior twelve months. With a six-foot par putt on the 18th hole, he finished with a 280, beating Chandler Harper by one stroke. Besselink was paid off with a wheelbarrow filled with silver dollars. He also had bet $500 on himself at 25 to 1, earning another $12,500. [5] Because he had just heard that Babe Zaharias had been diagnosed with cancer he donated half of his $10,000 first prize to the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund. Besselink and Zaharias had won the International Two-Ball Championship at Orlando in February 1952. [6]

He was called "Bessie" by the other tour players and was known for living life with a gambler's recklessness and a showman's flair. [7] One famous example of his showmanship occurred during the third round of the 1965 Colonial National Invitation in Fort Worth when Besselink played the final four holes of his third round with a red rose—plucked from a bush at the 15th hole—between his teeth. Afterward, Besselink said the gesture was a nod to the "loveliness of Texas women in general and Fort Worth women in particular." The next day, locker room attendants presented Besselink with 50 roses sent by female fans. [8]

Amateur wins

  • 1948 Southern Intercollegiate Championship
  • 1949 Southern Intercollegiate Championship

Professional wins (18)

PGA Tour wins (5)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
1Jul 27, 1952 Sioux City Open −22 (65-70-67-64=266)4 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Jerry Barber
2Apr 26, 1953 Tournament of Champions −8 (72-68-68-72=280)1 stroke Flag of the United States.svg Chandler Harper
3May 26, 1957 Kansas City Open −9 (70-67-67-75=279)3 strokes Flag of the United States.svg George Bayer, Flag of the United States.svg Dow Finsterwald
4Dec 1, 1957 Venezuela Open −1 (70-67-69-73=279)Playoff Flag of the United States.svg Bob Rosburg
5Mar 30, 1964 Azalea Open −6 (70-65-72-75=282)1 stroke Flag of the United States.svg Lionel Hebert

Other wins (13)

Results in major championships

Masters Tournament T20T39T9T63
PGA Championship R64R64CUT
Masters Tournament
PGA Championship T3963CUTT33CUTCUT

Note: Besselink never played in The Open Championship.

  Top 10
  Did not play

WD = withdrew
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = round in which player lost in PGA Championship match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place


TournamentWins2nd3rdTop-5Top-10Top-25EventsCuts made
Masters Tournament 00113455
U.S. Open 000012102
The Open Championship 00000000
PGA Championship 00000095
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 4 (1950 U.S. Open – 1952 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (four times)

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  1. PGA Tour 2000 Official Media Guide of the PGA Tour. PGA Tour. November 2000. pp. 6–17.
  2. "Conlin". The Sacramento Bee. April 26, 1981. p. 42.
  3. "Besselink Posts 65 for 135 Total to Gain One-Stroke Margin in Azalea Golf; Gajda is Second in $20,000 Event Besselink Gets 8 Birdies in Gaining Lead -- Four Tied for Third Place", The New York Times , March 29, 1964. Accessed November 26, 2007.
  4. "Al Besselink 1946 to 1949". University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame official site. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  5. Myers, Bob (April 27, 1953). "Besselink Grabs $10,000 Prize In Champs' Tourney" . The Charlotte Observer. North Carolina. AP. p. 16 via
  6. "Besselink, Zaharias Win At Orlando" . The Atlanta Constitution. Georgia. AP. February 25, 1952. p. 11 via
  7. "Whoa, Bessie". Archived from the original on March 13, 2007. Retrieved October 23, 2006.